In the 1970s, a handful of sprint car drivers began to put wings with sideboards on both the front and top of their cars. The added wings increased the downforce generated on the car which immediately increased the car’s traction. The sideboards, being forced through the turns, gave the cars better stability and control in the corners. The winged sprint cars, with their increased traction and maneuverability, started breaking track records all over the country. The census in the pits was that wings turned a bad driver into a good driver and a good driver into a great driver.
As the speeds grew, so did the intensity of the crashes. However, again the wings cemented their place in sprint car racing as they revealed an unforeseen characteristic. It was discovered that not only did wings lessen the likelihood of going airborne but when they did go airborne, the wings acted like giant impact-absorbing, crush panels for the cars which significantly added to driver safety.
Founded in 1978 by Ted Johnson, The World of Outlaws became the premier winged sprint car series in the world. The term “Outlaws” came from the early days of winged sprint car racing where there weren’t any rules. This new breed of drivers labeled, “The Outlaws”, travelled across the country going head to head with USAC, the ruling body of Sprint Car racing, and they proved themselves victorious. These “Run What Ya Brung” Outlaw races, now known as the “Greatest Show on Dirt” earned some of the highest paid purses in the land.
The touring World of Outlaws series stormed into Ascot annually since it’s inception in 1978. The stands were packed, the intensity was high and the fans were on their feet. The Outlaws were revered and feared at the same time. Their appeal has never wavered.